On this page you can find various statistics for coal fuel in New Zealand, as well as information about reserves, production and consumption.
Data tables for coal
This spreadsheet contains the latest coal data for New Zealand. The tables are updated quarterly.
Note: the coal statistics were revised on 21 March 2019. The coal export value for September quarter 2018 and coal production value for December quarter 2018 were revised.
New Zealand has in-ground coal resources of more than 16 billion tonnes, of which 80% are lignite in the South Island. There are also substantial resources of sub-bituminous coal in both islands, and a lesser amount of high-quality bituminous coal, mainly on the West Coast of the South Island.
More information on the New Zealand coal industry is available from the New Zealand Petroleum & Minerals website.
Coal production is centred in:
- the Waikato — mainly for several major industrial users, and the Huntly power station
- the West Coast — mainly for export
- Otago/Southland — mainly for local industrial markets.
Figure 1: Coal Production
Most of New Zealand’s premium bituminous coal is exported. It's valued internationally for its:
- low ash and sulphur content
- characteristics such as high swelling, fluidity and reactivity, which allow blending with other coals for use in the steel industry.
Electricity generation (including cogeneration) accounts for the largest amount of domestic coal use.
Industrial coal use is primarily for:
- cement, lime and plaster
- meat, dairy and other food processing
- wool, timber, pulp and paper products.
Commercial coal use is mainly for heating accommodation and service buildings in central and local government, hospitals, rest homes and educational institutions. A small amount of coal is used by the agricultural (mainly horticulture), transport and residential sectors.
For more information see section ‘C. Coal’ in the publication Energy in New Zealand.
Figure 2: Total Coal Consumption by Sector
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